Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
April 5, 2023
AMBASSADOR LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD: I just wanted to take the opportunity again to say, as Russia takes on the presidency of the Security Council, we will use every opportunity to push back on their using their perch in the chair to spread disinformation, and to use their chair to push support of their efforts. So it’s for that reason today that we have opposed their Arria-formula briefer, a woman who has been charged with war crimes, who has been involved in deporting and removal of children from their homes to Russia. And we strongly are opposed to that. And that’s why we’ve joined the UK in blocking UN WebTV from being used to allow her to have an international podium to spread disinformation and to try to defend her horrible actions that are taking place in Ukraine. Generally, we don’t oppose UN WebTV being used. We were disturbed that China used it in our Arria to block the fact of the Arria being used, but for this purpose we do not support it being used by an individual to brief that we know has committed war crimes.
QUESTION: Ambassador, I believe you met with Ambassador Nebenzia yesterday. Is that the first time you’ve had a one-on-one meeting since the war started? And what did you talk about?
AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: I spoke to my Russian counterpart yesterday regarding the arrest of an American journalist and expressed our strong, strong demand that he be released immediately. That this is really beyond the pale to use a journalist who had already had been accredited in Russia and accuse him of the kinds of actions they’ve accused him of. And I’ve joined with all of our colleagues across the U.S. government – as you know, Secretary Blinken spoke to his counterpart, as well – to demand that he be immediately released, as well as other Americans who are being held.
QUESTION: Ambassador, can I ask you about Afghanistan? The Taliban now looks like it’s banning women who work for the United Nations in Afghanistan. Firstly, what’s your reaction to that? And secondly, doesn’t it again raise questions about the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan? The way you pulled out meant you had no leverage to create a unity government. Didn’t you abandon the Afghan people and the women of Afghanistan?
AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Let me let me respond to the last part of your question first. We have never abandoned the people of Afghanistan. We’re working very, very closely with our Afghan partners and fighting against what the Taliban are doing, their attempt to erase women. And that is appalling; it’s unacceptable. We’re working with other members of the Council, as well as with the Secretary-General and the UN, to respond to this. They cannot be allowed to continue to restrict women from providing support to women. And we’ve said from the beginning that we will judge them on their actions, and their actions certainly suggest that there’s no reason to recognize this as a legitimate act.
QUESTION: Are you or any of the UN [inaudible] going to attend the Arria to raise the opposition?
AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: There will be – as you’ve heard, other ambassadors are not attending. And I nor any of my ambassadors will be sitting in the chair. We will have an expert sitting in the chair who has been instructed to walk out when the briefer that we’ve objected to is speaking.